Lions bite off more than they can chew? NEVER!

Okay – so perhaps the task was a little larger than we thought (and the river in the background a little higher)!

When Fiona Croft approached Malton Lions for help removing a pile of wood which had been a boardwalk, we weren’t quite sure what we were letting ourselves in for.

The boardwalk in Lady Spring Wood, ran by the River Derwent between Norton & Malton and Old Malton. It was unsafe, unlikely to survive another winter as it was in disrepair, and had to be removed. A small bridge over The Cut nearby has been removed for the same reason and together these limited the routes that can be taken by walkers.

Using a tractor towed wood trailer and crane plus “Lion-Power” to move the smaller pieces of wood the first trailer load is three quarters full. l to r Lions Russ Grimshaw, Steve Sidaway, Mark Harrison, Jack Wilford and Nick Simpson.

Lion Mark Harrison joined Fiona on site to assess the problem and decided that through his business – Ryetec – he had the equipment required to do the job in the exceptionally boggy conditions alongside the River Derwent which was very high after the recent rain. All that was needed was a group of “willing” volunteers from within the Club.

In Fiona’s words this is what happened next.


Malton & Norton Lions Club have worked miracles for the Lady Spring Wood project today. Mark, Steve, Russ, Nick, Richard and Jack appeared at 8am with huge tractors, trailers, cranes, dumpers, and utter determination to get the enormous pile of boardwalk wood out of the water-sodden field by the wood, and to the Gannock car park opposite The Royal Oak.

The dumper waits to empty its first bucket load of sodden wood once the trailer has tipped. This location is accessible for skip trucks to dispose of the waste.

The Malton & Norton Lions Club have done what many others (amateur and professional alike) could not or would not do in the terrible conditions by the river. But no amount of trying to talk them out of this seemingly crazy plan would put them off, and true to their excellent reputation, they succeeded after 5 hours, still with smiles on their faces. They moved six 20 cubic yard trailers of rubbish across boggy terrain!

So boggy even a trusty old Land Rover Defender got stuck!!

The volunteers running the Lady Spring Wood Project, Malton & Norton Area Partnership and many, many more owe these men an enormous debt of gratitude.


Lion Nick celebrates the last load – some 5 hours after we started

The wood itself is bursting with wildlife and ancient, beautiful springs bubbling with clear spring water. Access to the woods and other local paths has provided joy for walkers for many years in this beautiful part of North Yorkshire.

Lion Russ looks on as Jack ceremoniously slings the very last piece of wood into the trailer.

Through Just Giving a crowd funding appeal went out – take a look by clicking here – to add to funds from local organisations. They needed to raise a further £6000 for a safe, accessible woodland pathway and bridge. Feedback from their recent Questionnaire revealed that 24% would no longer use the area if the boardwalk is totally removed and 98% supported installing the new bridge.

As they say in Yorkshire – “Job’s a good ‘un!” l to r Lions Steve Sidaway, Richard Lukey, Mark Harrison, Nick Simpson and Jack Wilford

The plan is to use this money to fund the replacement of the bridge across The Cut south of Malton and Norton Rugby Club, and to contribute to the management of the Lady Spring Wood boardwalks which will be removed and replaced – with boardwalk and some ground level pathways – during 2018.